The River Esmel was a major river located in Amn. It was one of four rivers that connected Amn to the Sea of Swords.[2] It has been described as "the true backbone of Amnian riches."[3]


Esmel River was a peaceful and wide river that drained Lake Esmel at Esmeltaran and flowed west to the Sea of Swords.[1][2][3] At its source, the waters were warm from the hot springs of the lake,[1][3] but after a mile, they cooled to normal temperatures, though they still maintained their "chalklike", "irontang"[3] sulfur taste for a good distance from the lake.[1]

The Emsel River was full of barges, even more so than the Alandor River.[1][3] It was so full, that locals joked that one could walk across the river from barge-deck to barge-deck without ever touching the water.[3] The city of Purskul received much of its livelihood in grain and other goods from these barges.[4]

The Esmel is more easily walked across than swum.
— An old local saying[3]

Besides grain barges, the river carried fishing barges and pleasure barges.[1][3] These latter barges were double-decked vessels decorated with purple and gold silks[1] and full of dancers and musicians and wealthy merchants and customers.[1][3] The professional dancers often doubled as both cooks and barge crews.[3] It was popular for rich merchants to return from Esmeltaran on such barges, and village children would often cluster alongside the river when such barges passed, hoping that a kind merchant would toss them some coins[1][3] or buttered lake crabs from the boat.[3]

Because of the slowness of river travel, barges historically were easy targets for violent criminal activity. By the late 14th century DR, it was illegal to carry a strung bow or cocked crossbow with a half mile of the river banks. This rule was thoroughly enforced by Amnian troops. Notably, such troops were not immune from taking bribes from rich merchants.[3]

The river was crossed by King's Arch, a plain stone bridge constructed by King Esmel at the small town of Gambiton, southwest of Esmeltaran. It could also be forded at the town of Esford.[5]

Along the river were at least 20 small farming villages and hamlets, whose laborers took water from the river.[3]

Notable LocationsEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Two: Amn. (TSR, Inc), p. 45. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition (Map). (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 Ed Greenwood (2000). Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 50–51. ISBN 0-7869-1626-5.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Scott Haring (1988). Empires of the Sands. (TSR, Inc), p. 12. ISBN 0-8803-8539-1.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Two: Amn. (TSR, Inc), p. 47. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
  6. Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Two: Amn. (TSR, Inc), p. 46. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.